LONDON (AP) — In an embarrassing episode for the host of the next Summer Olympics, several employees of Rio de Janeiro’s 2016 committee were caught stealing files from British organizers during the London Games.
London’s organizing committee said Friday that Rio employees, working alongside London staff in the technology department, had downloaded internal documents without authorization. The Brazilians were working with London organizers during the July 27-Aug. 12 games as part of an official “transfer of knowledge program” between Olympic host cities.
“I can confirm there was an incident involving members of the Rio team who accessed and removed files without permission,” London spokeswoman Jackie Brock-Doyle told The Associated Press. “We reported it to Rio management. They acted quickly to resolve the issue and return the files.”
The Rio employees involved in the theft were removed from the London program.
The nature and content of the London files was not immediately known. However, officials said the documents likely would have been provided to the Rio team had they requested them.
Top-level London officials were notified and informed Rio organizers, headed by Carlos Nuzman and Leo Gryner.
Nine Rio employees were fired for the incident, according to a report by Brazilian journalist Juca Kfouri at the UOL.com web portal. Kfouri is also a columnist at the Fohla de S. Paulo newspaper, Brazil’s largest. His report said the London files included information about strategic planning and security.
Brock-Doyle said she couldn’t confirm whether, or how many, Rio employees were fired. Messages and calls to the Rio organizing committee in Brazil were not immediately answered.
“It’s an issue between Rio and London which they have dealt with,” International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams told the AP.
Rio, the first city in South America chosen to host the Olympics, sent hundreds of staff to London during the games to monitor the operations.
Disclosure of the stolen files comes two months before London and Rio officials gather in Brazil for the official “debrief” of the 2012 Games, a meeting where previous organizers provide the next hosts with information for staging the event.
AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni in Sao Paulo, Brazil, contributed to this report.
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